Through 2025, the price of farm land should double, thanks to the new land market that starts July 1,

 Prime Minister Shmygal, told the Ukraine 30 land forum yesterday. In addition, local governments should see rents more than double on their farm land, from 7% of estimated value to 18%, he predicted. A pilot project to lease state-owned farm land through electronic auctions is resulting in higher rents, he said.

Almost 10% of Ukraine’s farm land is farmed off the books, costing the state as much as $1 billion in lost taxes annually,

 reports the Association of Agrarians of Ukraine. Lease payments on these tax-dodging schemes total as much as $2.5 billion, the group’s chairman, Alexander Vasilivsky, complained to Roman Leschchenko, the new Agriculture Minister.

During the 20-year ban on farm land sales, Ukraine’s state has lost the equivalent of “almost two Crimean peninsulas,” to land thefts by “businessmen and politicians,”

President Zelenskiy said yesterday at Ukraine 30, a land forum. About 5 million hectares of state land moved illegally into private hands, he said. Crimea’s territory is 2.7 million hectares. During the land sale moratorium, 7 million rural residents were deprived of full ownership rights, and 1 million died, often in poverty, unable to sell their land, he said.

Opposition to allowing foreigners to buy farm land remains strong in Ukraine,

 according to a new poll by the Rating Sociological Group. Of the 2,000 respondents, 79% oppose allowing foreigners to buy farmland and 77% say the issue should be decided by a national referendum. Of respondents who said they would vote in a referendum, 64% told pollsters late last month that they would vote for the foreigner ban.